"It's the Class War, Stupid"

Real Estate, Racism and the Vancouver Housing Bubble

By Tom Sandborn

Class warHands up, anyone out there who got through even a week this year in Vancouver without a conversation about the insane real estate market. If you have, you are among a fortunate few. These days, with the average price of a Metro Vancouver house increasing by 32% between June 2015 and June 2016, according to Sotheby’s International and every second story, tweet and blog locally debating causes and cures for this stupendous bacchanal of profit-taking, the topic is almost impossible to avoid. Usually at some point in the discussion someone complains that a combination of “political correctness” and an unwholesome collaboration between governments and the real estate industry prevent any full, informed discussion of the role of
money from China in driving the speculative bubble in Lower Mainland real estate.

(For a topic that has been allegedly “silenced”, the disturbingly racist narrative
about Chinese money does seem pretty noisy and omnipresent, and far more
evident than any serious analysis of the government/big business connections
behind the bubble.)

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Rethinking B.C.'s surgical wait-time strategy

By Andrew Longhurst, Marcy Cohen and Dr. Margaret McGregor

Surgical wait-time imageHave you had to wait months for surgical consultation, let alone the surgery itself? If so, you’re not alone.
British Columbians are waiting an unacceptable amount of time to receive the care they need. Since 2010, surgical wait times have increased significantly for key procedures, including hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery. B.C. has some of the longest waits in the country.

Why are wait times getting longer?

Over the last 10 years B.C. has seen a number of successful initiatives intended to reduce surgical wait times in the public system — led by local groups of surgeons, health-authority administrators and practitioners. But these have not been scaled up provincewide.

Instead, the B.C. government has focused almost entirely on short-term funding measures and incentives to complete more surgeries — strategies that, on their own, have a poor record of reducing wait times over the long term.

Last year, the government for the first time released a comprehensive report outlining its plan for tackling wait times. While the plan includes many good ideas, it proposes going in two contradictory policy directions at once.

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Fraser Institute thinks sending your kid to university counts as "child care"

PressProgress -When most Canadians hear "child care," they probably picture toddlers in daycare.
But when the Fraser Institute hears "child care," they seem to think about sending young adults off to college or university.

Child careIn their latest report examining "child care in Canada," the right-wing think tank sets out to calculate just how much money Canada spends on child care every year.

But a closer look at how they came up with their numbers shows a few interesting surprises!
What surprises?

Well, although the cover of the report features a photo of a tiny infant struggling with a set of building blocks, the report itself says it counts saving for university as a "child care" cost.

In calculating child care costs in Canada, the Fraser Institute includes the $800 million Canada Education Savings Grant program that the report itself describes as something designed to help parents "save for their child's post-secondary education."

Which only begs the question: is it reasonable to include the cost of saving for college or university as a "child care" program?

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